It’s been many years since the Lord placed in us the desire to serve him overseas. At times it was frustrating because we didn’t know where or in what capacity he was calling us to serve.
We both attended Christian Universities and were surrounded by other students who seemed to have it figured out….it looked like they knew exactly where God was calling them. They had a particular people group, nation or ministry burning on their heart, and that's where they would be when they finished their studies.
As it turned out, some of those students went into those callings…and some didn’t. In the moment it felt frustrating but looking back we see the graciousness and goodness of a loving Father who was directing each step we took and not giving us a picture that was too big for us to grasp at the time.
Hebrews 11: 8-10 “By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.” (MSG)
Through those verses God reminded us that our job is to be obedient to where the Lord calls, when he calls. Abraham was promised a country, a land and a nation. In one instance we see him try to build the nation under is own effort or understanding…. a mistake that had lasting consequences. However, moving forward we see him focus his gaze on the perfect Creator trusting that He could fulfill those things in ways that he never could.
We could have stepped into missions years ago… it was tempting. On a few occasions we tried and hit roadblocks every single time. It was when we stepped back and released the promise from God back to him (John 12:24), that we started to finally see those dreams come to fruition.
If we are building our own dreams, our own realities and our own safety nets we don’t need to lean on Christ….we are standing on the piddly pile of sticks that we created. We miss out on so much good when we operate in our own strength. Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM, often says that he wants to lean so hard into Jesus that when Jesus moves, he falls over. We want our lives to be aligned like that.
In not knowing the exact location, the exact people group or the exact ministry that the Lord was calling us to as a family, it has forced us to depend on God for every step forward that we take…and He has directed our path in such a magnificent way. He has led us to people and places that we would have never dreamed or imagined. It’s encouraging, life-giving, and humbling to know how the Lord cares about the smallest details and we see that it gives Him joy to give us joy.
So why France? France came about because we said yes a long time ago when God said to take a step. Then he said to take another and we said yes... then another and another until the steps led to where we are now. It doesn’t stop there; as any good “Fitbitter” will tell you, our life is made up of millions of steps…millions of opportunities to say yes, to operate in faith, relinquishing control and leaning in to God.
We don’t exactly know the full scope of why God led us to partner with him through YWAM France…. but we know he did and and we are excited to be on this journey with him. We don’t know what the next 2 years will look like and as scary as that reality is at times, we trust God because we know HE IS A GOOD FATHER….and like Dan Baumann likes to say, “God is more faithful to us than we could ever be to him.”
Not only are we thrilled to be on this journey with the Lord, but we are so excited that many of you are on that same journey with us! We are excited for you to be walking and sharing this road with us as the story unfolds. If you would like to learn more about YWAM Biarritz and the ministries they have going on, follow this link: www.ywambiarritz.com
On May 1st we will be jumping on a plane headed for Europe and as we continue to walk forward, we wanted to ask you to pray about a few things with us.
1. Grace for our family as we learn what it means to be immersed in an unfamiliar culture longterm.
2. Fast language acquisition. We will be enrolled in 4 months of language school upon arrival and we really want to have a good grasp on the language as quickly as possible. We are doing our best presently to learn French by checking out kids CD/ DVDs from the library and working our way through the Duolingo App. It is so much fun to hear the boys say words in French and it easy to see how much more quickly they are picking it up than us!
3. Sending budget: For the initial push and move to France for our family of 5, the remainder of what we need financially is $13,500. This cost covers flights, trains, vehicle/small amount of household goods shipping (we discovered it was significantly cheaper to ship our vehicle there packed with personal items than to ship those items separately and secure a vehicle once we arrived), apartment in France, mandatory longterm stay appointments by the French government, and language school.
4. Monthly Partners: Currently we are sitting at about 47% of what we need monthly to live and serve in Biarritz. We roughly need $1850.00 more in monthly commitments. Unfortunately there will be some loss in conversion from the USD to EUR, but we tried to account for that in the amount needed. If you are thinking about partnering with us and would like to see a breakdown of our monthly budget, please email us…we would be happy to share that with you.
We can’t thank you enough for your continued love, encouragement and support… it means so much to us. We have a little less than 6 weeks left in town and would love to get together with as many of you as possible before we head out. Most of our weekends have filled up but if you have any weekdays free we would enjoy some face to face time before we head off. Send us an email, or text us if you have any free time and would like to hang out!
Also, if you want to check it out, we have created a separate Photography page on our website to share some of our favorite adventures!
Because He is worthy!
The Bell Family
Caleb, Mimi, Banyan, Sebastian & Sailor